Q&A with Danni Leadbetter, Digital Content Officer

Danni Leadbetter joined Orbit as a 17-year-old apprentice in the Income Team. Nearly 10 years later Danni has been able to diversify her career, making the most of the opportunities, training and professional development that Orbit offers to colleagues to become a Digital Content Officer, helping to ensure that customers have good interactions with Orbit via its digital channels. We asked Danni to tell us more about her career journey so far.

What attracted you to joining Orbit?

When I was looking for an apprenticeship, I wanted to join a company that had the opportunity for progression, and this is where Orbit stood out. I didn’t know the social housing industry at all, but the way Orbit treated their colleagues and treated me in my interview, I knew it was a company I wanted to work for.

What was your first role?

I started Orbit as a modern apprentice in the Income Team, where three months later I was promoted to an Income Assistant.

What is your current role and what does it entail?

I’m currently a Digital Content Officer, and I work on content for our digital platforms. I specialise in our Customer and Staff chatbots, but also work on our online portal, myAccount, and our SMS platform. My role enables our customers to have an omni-channel experience with Orbit and offers them alternative and more preferable ways to contact us and get the information they need, rather than the traditional route of calling us.

Tell us about a typical week

No two weeks are the same! My role is so varied, and I love it! On a daily basis, I optimise our customer chatbot, Celeste, to ensure our customers are getting the right answers first time. I also work on our customer portal, myAccount and our SMS platform. My role includes a lot of collaboration with internal teams and external stakeholders. And on top of that, I’m a Colleague Ambassador and Healthy Mind First Aider, where I aim drive positive change in the business and ensure staff feel that they are heard and supported in the business.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

This is quite a difficult one – there are so many parts I love, however one of the things I love most is being able to make a positive change to both customers and colleagues through the work that I do. We’re at a really exciting digital age now where technology and AI is advancing all the time, so there’s some really exciting possibilities to improve user experience.

What do you enjoy most about your job? What makes you feel fulfilled or proud to work here?

I enjoy the diversity my job brings, and the trust and freedom I am given to explore ideas for improvements in my role. I am fully supported by my colleagues and managers, and this really enables me to be empowered to work to the very best of my ability in everything that I do. I am proud to work for an organisation that allows me to be my true, authentic self, and an organisation that supports me in my goals and aspirations to further my career.

What’s your proudest achievement at work so far?

I am proud of where I am and the job I have now. When I started as an apprentice, I did not for a second think that I’d be nearing 10 years in the business. I didn’t know anything about the Social Housing sector, but through the years I have been able to build a career that has been fulfilling and presented endless opportunities to get me at a point of where I am now. I am in a role that I love, and something I wanted to do when I left school. This year, I came highly commended in the company wide ‘Stars in Orbit’ awards. This was such an amazing feeling to even be nominated by my peers, and really made me feel proud of my achievements in digital.

What has been the hardest moment in your career?

The hardest moment for me was taking a leap of faith to explore a different area of the business in digital, but also it was the best moment in my career. For four years I worked in income, and then four years in lettings where I worked with numbers daily. Numbers and spreadsheets were what I knew for eight years, but going into digital was completely different. I was so scared on my first day that I wasn’t going to be any good at my new job, but my managers believed in my ability, supported me and gave me amazing opportunities that have not only furthered my career, but have really helped me personally to become a more confident, and better version of myself, and for that, I can’t thank them enough.

Who has been the most important person in your career and why?

I’m a firm believer that it’s the people that get you through it, and if you have a good support mechanism then you’ll go far. Whilst in Orbit, I’ve developed great friendships, but one of those friendships I’ve had is with a colleague whom I worked with for eight years. There’s been times where I’ve needed a little extra support, and she’s always been there to give practical advice, and listen to me. She’s been there through the hard times and the good times and provides lots of laughs along the way. Even though we no longer work together, we still have that friendship where we can lean on each other and have a laugh – and I am so thankful for her direction and friendship over the years. I often think that without her encouragement, I would not be where I am today, and I will always be thankful that we had the opportunity to work together for so long.

What’s the best piece of work advice you’ve ever been given?

Even if it scares you, if there’s an opportunity, go for it.

How have you developed/progressed since joining?

Where do I start? My first ever job was with Orbit, and I’ve not left since. Orbit has taught me everything I know about business and my career, and everything I know about the housing sector. Five job roles and four qualifications later, I’ve progressed more than I ever thought I would, not only professionally, but personally too. When I started Orbit, I was very shy and didn’t believe in my abilities. Though over the years I’ve been given opportunities and experiences that have allowed me to become more confident in myself, and my abilities. Throughout my career, I have created processes from scratch, presented and delivered training to large groups of people and have improved workflows and platforms. If I think about my 17-year-old self when I first joined Orbit, there was no way I’d think it would be possible to achieve what I have over the years, and that is down to the people of Orbit who have encouraged me and supported me throughout my time in the business.

How has Orbit supported you to achieve your career goals and aspirations?

Orbit has enabled me to gain professional qualifications to develop my career. When I started as an apprentice, I gained a Level 2 NVQ qualification in Business Administration and a Level 2 in Information technology. I then completed a Level 3 qualification in Business Administration. After that, I realised I wanted to learn more about housing, so Orbit allowed me to gain a Charted Institute of Housing Level 3 qualification in Housing & Property Management. This not only gave me such valuable knowledge of housing, but it was great to get a CIH qualification. Alongside this, Orbit has facilitated many development opportunities for me, including getting me a place on the Housing 24’s Young Leaders programme, and providing several aspiring leaders courses. Recently, I seconded into a Training Role for four months, where I stepped completely out of my comfort zone and trained large groups of people on two-week training courses. This was so scary – but I was supported by my managers every step of the way, and this has immensely benefitted me and my career.

What are your goals for the future and do you feel that Orbit is an organisation that will help you get there?

My next step is to complete a Charted Institute of Marketing Level 4 qualification in Professional Digital Marketing, facilitated by Orbit. I love digital, and I really want to understand more about Digital Marketing and how this feeds into my role. There are so many advances in technology currently, and we’re at a really exciting time where we can use technologies such as AI to enhance the business. I want to keep progressing in my career, and by Orbit allowing me to start another qualification, it’ll give me the skills and knowledge I need to continuously grow and further my career.

What would you say to anyone considering joining Orbit?

Do it. In my experience, Orbit is a great place to work and gives countless opportunities to really support and develop their staff. I would not be where I am now if it wasn’t for Orbit, and I’ll always be grateful to the staff over the years that have believed in me and have enabled me to progress.